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Being accused of prostitution can be a life-altering event, and even though prostitution (also known as solicitation) is considered a misdemeanor offense under California legislature, the legal repercussions for the person facing the charges can be wide-sweeping and cause a lifetime of problems. People who have been charged with prostitution could face jail time and may even have to register themselves as sex offenders.
According to the California Legislative Information website, a person may be charged with prostitution if he or she has allegedly agreed to receive compensation in the form of money, goods, or “anything of value” in exchange for a “lewd act.” The legal definition of a “lewd act” is rather broad, so it is possible to face prostitution charges when no overtly sexual activity has taken place, or when the definition of “anything of value” becomes hazy. For example, is a bouquet of roses considered valuable under this definition? If so, if one accepts roses as a gift and then engages in “lewd acts” with the person who gave the gift, could that be considered prostitution under California law?
Prostitution may not be a felony offense, but people who are charged with prostitution could still be required to register their names and addresses on the list of sex offenders. This is because solicitation, although argued by some people as a “victimless crime,” is considered a sex crime. People being prosecuted for prostitution charges could face the same treatment as any other sex offender, and removal from the sex offender list is not nearly as easy as being added to it.
Although in some counties in the U.S. and abroad prostitution is not criminalized, in California prostitution has been illegal for more than a century—and the fact that two consenting adults were engaged in the act is not something California courts take into consideration when someone is brought up on prostitution charges. In short, consent does not matter when it comes to the solicitation.
If someone accuses you of engaging in an act of prostitution, you could find yourself in a courtroom facing jail time—even if you haven’t committed any crime at all. These sorts of false allegations could lead to a legal tangle involving shifts in the burden of proof that could make a shocked defendant’s head spin. Even if you have committed no crime, if you are facing sex crime charges it’s important to get an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system as you prove your innocence.
Have you been charged with prostitution? Contact Okabe and Haushalter for a free consultation if you live in the South Bay area or greater Los Angeles region. These professionals are among the most experienced Los Angeles prostitution defense attorney and can help defend your case, reducing the likelihood of facing fines, incarceration, or registry on the sex offender list. The aggressive defense tactics used by the lawyers at Okabe and Haushalter can help you take your life back after being charged with a sex crime.